Tuesday, April 28, 2020


As if there were not enough shows to watch at home these days, Sharon and I have taken to revisiting Aaron Sorkin’s Newsroom. We both commend it to you.  It borders on the redundant to say Sorkin’s writing is brilliant. The show is just so smart, so well made, so perfectly cast… do yourself a favor and use your HBOGO to watch at least the first of the three years. We are mid-way through season two and recommend a re-visit highly.

Season three of Killing Eve has come out (at least the first three episodes). Big drop off from seasons one and two and were it not for Ms Jodi Comer and Sandra Oh it would be close to unwatchable. But Comer and Oh are there… one or the other (and sometimes both) in almost every scene. Thank goodness for that.

I have just given up on Westworld mid-way through season three. It has nothing to do with the early days of the show which were, at least intriguing. What is going on this season is just plane silly. One saving grace is the City of Singapore which is well covered throughout the show. If I were a travelin’ man I would go there. Not the show, the city.

The Showtime series, HOMELAND ended last Sunday night. I am going to miss it. More than any other show this century, it is what I can only hope would have evolved from my own Cagney & Lacey. The character Carrie Mathison is Christine Cagney on steroids. I loved it.

Beyond that, what I appreciated was the way they ended it. Think how many wonderful series have been sullied by their creators in the ways they chose to end their shows…. Deadwood, Game of Thrones, (and some say) The Sopranos. Magnificent shows with endings that (to say the least) disappointed, even cheated their audiences.

I’m going to give David Chase sort of a pass on The Sopranos last episode. It was almost perfect… until the very end. A few moments earlier and I think his point would have been better made, but it was a choice someone (he) might defend.

David Milch has no such excuse. He decided to wrap up his brilliant series, years later with a one-shot movie made for HBO. The Deadwood characters looked and sounded great as always, the production values were smack on, but in wrapping everything up, the whole thing appeared to be too tidy and way too quick. Three, four, or even six episodes could easily have been derived from that one two hour “special.” What a shame.

Benioff and Weiss should really be ashamed. They nurtured and dragged out their Game of Thrones for years, then collapsed the final season into but six episodes. The lives of several of the key characters were rushed into being resolved in a few lines of dialogue rather than dramatic portrayal. For eight years we had been lulled into the detailed/deliberate pacing created by these two brilliant producers. Now, all of a sudden, they were in a hurry and their audience paid the price.

I loved how they ended Veep… one of the best endings ever, for one of the best comedy series of the last decade. Still, there is a long history of terrific endings for comedy shows (M*A*S*H and The Bob Newhart Show most obviously leaping to mind).

There are complexities in drama shows and the urge to make it all “neat and tidy” at the end can be overwhelming. There are even unintended consequences: back- in-the-day, catching the one-armed man in The Fugitive cost the producers millions of dollars in syndication and I would bet the residual dollar value of Game of Thrones was substantially reduced by dealing with several key characters either off-stage or with voice-over dialogue.

Homeland did it brilliantly…thank you Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa. It is sad to see this wonderful show go, but very satisfying to see it go the way it did.

Barney Rosenzweig

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